Edward Mack, prolific composer of Civil War marches

Of the 412 marches related to the Civil War in the Library of Congress Civil War Sheet Music Collection, 26 are by E. Mack. I never suspected that 6% of the collection would be written by someone I had never heard of. I was not surprised to see so many unfamiliar names among march composers, but I never thought the composer of the most marches would be such a cipher, and I never thought one man would write more than twice as much as second most prolific composer. George Root’s 12 contributions (mostly arrangements and not original compositions) include three … Continue reading

Marches of the Civil War

It is my plan to publish something related to the Civil War every month until the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s assassination four years from now. By that time, if I am even able to come close to finishing the project, I will become very familiar with the Library of Congress’ Civil War Sheet Music Collection. I have just looked through the list of the 412 marches in the collection (out of an entire collection of 2576 pieces of published sheet music. There are pieces written both by Northern and Southern sympathizers, although I have only glanced at the contents and have … Continue reading

March forth! A brief look at American marches

March music has played a huge role in American popular culture. What’s a parade without marching bands? Or half time at a school football game? Would anyone want to listen to a Fourth of July concert, or a concert on any other patriotic occasion, without lots of marches? Is it even possible to imagine a band concert without at least one march? The modern wind band began at the time of the French Revolution. After that, European nations developed infantry bands and mounted cavalry bands. Some nations developed highly centralized policies for the instrumentation of these bands. In any case, … Continue reading

Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Saddleworth, and Nostalgia

I decided to look at YouTube for inspiration for today’s post and thought it was past time to mention the British tradition of brass bands. The Grimethorpe Colliery Band, one of Britain’s truly outstanding bands, is one I recalled hearing live when I was in England. So I looked them up and was surprised to find this clip from the 1998 Saddleworth Brass Band Contests, taken in the village of Delph. More on why I was surprised later. By the way, the video has two marches; the first is called “The Cobblers.” British brass bands differ greatly from American wind … Continue reading